Prepare Installation Media

The installation image downloaded in the previous section must first be transferred to the proper media. The files cannot be copied to media directly, but must be written using appropriate tools.

The primary difference between the USB memstick and ISO image is in how the images are written to an installation disk. Both types of images install pfSense software to a target disk. Another difference is between the console types for the different USB memstick images. After installation, they each retain their appropriate console settings.


If the target hardware does not have an optical drive and cannot boot from USB, install the software to the target disk using a different set of hardware. See Alternate Installation Techniques for more information.

Decompress the Installation Media

The installation disk image is compressed when downloaded to save bandwidth and storage. Decompress the file before writing this image to an installation disk.

The .gz extension on the file indicates that the file is compressed with gzip. The image can be decompressed on Windows using 7-Zip, or on BSD/Linux/Mac with the gunzip or gzip -d commands.

Writing the Install Media

Creating an installation disk requires a different procedure depending on the type of media. Follow the instructions in the appropriate section for the chosen media type.